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PERFORM in Albania Officially Launched

On 20 July 2016 PERFORM, a Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation project that focuses on strengthening the relevance of social sciences for social and political reforms, was officially launched in Albania.

Swiss Ambassador Christoph Graf and Minister of Education and Sport Lindita Nikolla signed the bilateral agreement that will cover PERFORM. Representatives of universities, research institutes, the donor community, non-profit organisations, the Parliament, and central and local government institutions also participated in the event.

“There cannot be progress in our societies if scientists and researchers do not contribute”, said Ambassador Graf. “Scientific research can feed policies and provide solid basis for decisions made by governments or public institutions. Social scientists in Albania need to become more credible and more known to the public, the media and the government. I am glad to state that PERFORM will be contributing towards this" - concluded the Swiss Ambassador. 
“This agreement places us before the obligation to listen to and to cooperate with researchers and academics to develop ideas, analyses and to orient our interventions”, said the Minister of Education and Sport Lindita Nikolla, pledging that her Ministry views its part in managing this programme with responsibility.

Governments and societies pay a high price for an underperforming social science research sector, PERFORM Manager, Martin Dietz, pointed out. Political decisions taken without sound scientific evidence basis may lack effectiveness and positive impact. He briefly outlined the project and its components. PERFORM will provide support to strengthen the social science community in terms of quality of research and communication, facilitate the development of systemic linkages between social science research, policy making and civil society, and support efforts to improve the regulatory framework relevant to social science research.

Constitutive Meeting of PERFORM Steering Committee +

PERFORM’s launching event was followed by the constitutive meeting of the Steering Committee. Members engaged in a lively discussion emphasising needs and constrains for a successful implementation and connection of social science research with policy making. All members, which include representatives of academia, non-profit organisations, government institutions, and legislative bodies, underlined the relevance and importance of PERFORM.

Mr Eduard Shalsi, Member of Parliament and Head of the Parliamentary Committee on Productive Activity, Trade and Environment, emphasised the need for structures and mechanisms for providing MPs with scientific expertise and evidence for their work. Mr Shalsi also referred to the need to work on a research agenda. The rector of Aleksander Moisiu University of Durres and the representative of the rectorate of the University of Tirana emphasised the need to develop priority research areas. 

PERFORM Steering Committee in Albania will meet twice a year and provide valuable guidance and advice to the project.